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March 15, 2013 / politicsbitesize

Charity begins with the young

Donate_Jar_Edited-300x220A report commissioned by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has reported this week that by 2015 a staggering 7.1 million children could be living in homes that ‘lack a decent standard of living’.  It claims that due to government policies such as the increase in VAT, cuts to tax credits and housing benefits and the stagnant growth in wages, well over half a million households will be pushed into poverty.

Analysis conducted by Howard Reed of Landman Economics forms the basis of the report, A Bleak Future For Families.  It was published ahead of the TUC’s A Future For Families pre-budget rally that was held in central London on Wednesday 13th March.  The research warns that, ‘the cumulative impact of government policies and slower than forecast wage growth over the course of this parliament will mean that 690,000 more children will be living below the minimum income standard (MIS)’.

Currently the Joseph Rowntree Foundation establishes that the threshold for MIS is:  £12,623 for a single pensioner, rising to £23,992 for a single parent with two children and £24,643 for a couple with one child.  According to the TUC, changes to welfare payments, tax credit cuts and the freeze on wages will mean that more and more households will find themselves living below the breadline.

But despite the hard times ahead, all is not lost.  The publication, Growing up Giving, by the Charities Aid Foundation reveals figures that show children aged between nine and 11 give, on average, £2 a month from their pocket money to charity.  This means that nearly £20 million a year is given to charitable causes by primary school children alone.

So, it seems that even in times of austerity the natural propensity to help out others is not lost on the young and perhaps this future generation will be inclined to be more charitable as they grow up.  It is heart-warming to think that schoolchildren are keen to support those in need, and in the run up to Comic Relief on Friday 15th March provides food for thought for us all.

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